Previously, on In the Flesh: “Episode 1”
The beginning of episode two sees Kieren waking up in the home to which he returned in the previous episode. For a moment, it’s almost like he isn’t a zombie PDS Sufferer. Then, he looks out the window, across the street, and sees Ken Burton sitting alone in his house and staring out into the empty street where his wife was murdered at the end of the previous episode. How terrible must that be, right? He lost her once, then he got her back, and then he had to watch Bill Macy take her away again. Tragic.
If you’ll recall, in the previous episode, Jem (Kieren’s sister) warned Kieren and their parents that Bill Macy and his Human Volunteer Force troupe were coming to kill Kieren. When it turned out that they weren’t coming for Kieren, and instead wanted Maggie (Ken’s wife), the episode ended on a feeling that Jem warning Kieren meant she had at least realized she still loves him and all that. Well, Kieren wants to thank her for this, and he does. What does she do? She returns to her twattish ways, of course! She refuses to even accept Kieran’s gratitude and, when he confronts her about being “best friends” with Bill–who has always hated Kieren–she throws a hissy fit and orders him out of her room. I hate her.
On top of this, Kieren’s parents seem to be pretending the whole “We watched Bill Macy murder our neighbor” thing didn’t happen. Then Jem–which we hear is short for Jemima–comes in and starts talking about a ceremony that honors the victims of The Rising–”People whose brains you ate”, she says to Kieren–have I mentioned I hate her?
Meanwhile, over at the Macy house, Bill and his wife are in the middle of a visit from Shirley, which confirms that their son Rick, who was found “alive” in Afghanistan after having been presumed killed by an IED, is a PDS sufferer like Kieren and like Maggie… you know, the woman Bill killed! This is great because we get to see the juxtaposition of how these parents handle a son with PDS against how the Walkers have handled it.
Speaking of the Walkers, Kieren is in his room, going through some of his old stuff, when we see he’s looking at some post cards; they’re from Rick. We hear a voice over of Rick reading one of them, when Kieren’s dad comes in his room and asks if he’d like to watch a movie. This dude is all about watching movies, and it’s sweet because he really just wants to go back to spending time with his son the way he used to. Although, this “family time” is interrupted by the fact that Kieren’s dad has to administer Kieren’s medicine, and he really doesn’t know how, a fact which is made worse by them both being startled by the doorbell ringing, so things get uncomfortable quickly. Dad shoves Kieren into a closet–yes, really–and answers the door. The visitor is a real estate agent who’s brought some people for a viewing; the Walkers are still trying to sell their house.
While in the closet, with a flashlight, the flashlight goes out, and Kieren is left in the dark; he doesn’t do well in the dark. It triggers another recovered memory; this one is of the moment he awoke in his casket, as a zombie, and it’s awesomely claustrophobic and nervous. He rips through the lid of the casket and–just then he comes out of the closet and into his dad’s arms. Don’t worry; the visitors are gone.
This leads to dad asking about the “flashbacks”; Kieren says they only happen when he’s stressed. Dad apologizes for shoving Kieren in the cupboard; he says he panicked. Kieren asks why they buried him–as opposed to cremating him as he wanted–and Dad is saved from having to answer this question by a phone call. He has to go to work, reluctantly.
This affords Kieren the opportunity to throw on a hoodie and get out of the house while he’s alone. He hurries up the street and to the graveyard where he was buried; it’s been quarantined.
Meanwhile, the “ceremony” mentioned earlier is taking place at a separate cemetery. It’s a quiet affair, when Bill comes walking up, announces that Rick is returning and he expects everyone’s full support, then he and his wife leave.
Back at the quarantined graveyard, Kieren finds his grave; then he has another flashback to when he and many others burst from the ground; it’s pretty creepy. Someone else is there; it’s a woman who recognizes Kieren. For whatever reason, she chases him, he grabs a pole, and she impales herself on it. Then she laughs because she’s “already dead, dumdum”. Her name is Amy, and she’s very talkative. She asks about Kieren’s epitaph, his will, and his death. They have a bit of a back-and-forth where he tells her he wanted to be cremated, she says “Well, that didn’t happen”, and he retorts “No shit.” It’s a nice little rapport they seem to be building, I suppose, but Kieren isn’t enjoying it; he starts to leave, but she brings him back by basically describing exactly what he’s been doing since he returned home; she’s been doing it to, and she go bored, so she goes on daytrips. Kieren joins her on a trip to a fair. What could possibly go wrong?
Elsewhere, the Macys–and basically everyone in town–gather to welcome Rick back home. He comes limping off the army truck he’s on; he looks about forty years old, and he has scars all up the right side of his face. Bill and Rick go out back and start shooting guns and being all army men, while Rick’s mother isn’t handling her shit at all. She’s in the bathroom taking pills and stressing out.
At the fair, Kieren and Amy somehow manage to have a perfectly fine conversation while on a swing ride. Amy quotes the Undead Prophet and generally acts just a bit too fancy-free about everything for Kieren’s taste. He thinks she should feel remorse for what they did while they were zombies, but she’s okay with it. The conversation continues, as they walk through a haunted house of scares or whatever. This isn’t a good place for Kieren because he’s seeing the last women he killed–the woman from his recurring flashback–everywhere.
The Macys are still out shooting guns–like you do, right?–when Rick starts asking about the Walkers. He wants to know how they are, and that’s when Bill just nonchalantly mentions that Kieren killed himself. Rick doesn’t say anything, but he unloads a lot of rounds on the target they were shooting at, which definitely means he’s upset in gun talk.
At the fair, Kieren is watching Amy enjoy a ride when, suddenly, someone recognizes him. This guy says, “I went to his funeral”, which should mean he cared about Kieren at least a little bit, right? You wouldn’t know it by the way the dude is just like, “Yeah, he’s a rotter! He’s a rotter!” And Kieren just runs away while Amy keeps on keeping on with her ride. I like how you see the difference between a fellow PDS sufferer–Amy–recognizing Kieren and a living person–the asshole fair dude–recognizing him.
After running off into the woods, Kieren sees and follows the woman from his flashback; she disappears into a cave. At first, you’re thinking he’s going to follow her, but nope! He runs off back into town. There, he happens across a bulletin board full of “missing person” fliers. One of them is for a Lisa Lancaster; she’s the woman from his flashback, and she’s the woman in that cave now.
In the vicar’s office, Dean and Gary, two of the HVF patrolmen, are there telling the vicar they want to be paid for patrolling the woods, especially now that Bill won’t be joining them anymore to “faff about in the woods”. The vicar isn’t convinced Bill is done with HVF, and neither am I. Philip, who serves as the vicar’s cleric, tells him that the budget is tight but will allow the payment. Reluctantly, the vicar agrees.
Kieren makes it back home, all Ferris Bueller style, just before both his parents and his sister return. They’re in the driveway arguing about whether or not to tell Kieren that Rick is back.
Now that Rick’s back, and he’s a zombie, the town is more accommodating; well, as accommodating as removing pictures of rotter “trophy kills” and making a “PDS Sufferers” section in the pub is. It seems very “whites only”. Hooray segregation, right?
In the middle of pretending to eat dinner, Kieren gets a visitor. Who is it? It’s Amy, and she just barges in like she owns the place. She’s the kind of “different” that seems to think it makes her special. Her ridiculousness makes Jem leave the room, and I actually agree with her. She’s clearly serving as the catalyst to encourage Kieren’s parents to accept his condition, and that’s why her antics are so exaggerated; that doesn’t make her any more enjoyable, though.
After leaving, Jem sees Dean about to go out on patrol, so she says she’ll join him. He won’t let her, though, because Bill doesn’t want her going on patrol anymore. Since Kieren was seen at the fair, everyone knows he’s back now and that his family “harbored” him. When Jem correctly points out that Bill has a rotter for a son, the other officer says “That’s different”. You know, because more important people get preferential treatment (and they’re all probably scared Bill will kill them if they go against him).
Now’s when Amy somewhat endears herself by revealing to Kieren that she died of leukemia; when he tells her he died from suicide, she embraces him, and you kind of like her. Then Jem bursts through the door and tells Kieren that Rick is back. As you’d expect, Kieren doesn’t take this well; he storms out to go find Rick at the pub.
All night, Bill has been encouraging Rick to drink, and that’s led to Rick puking up purple vomit in the bathroom (don’t ask me why it’s purple). When Kieren and Amy come upon the entrance to the pub, Kieren hesitates to go inside because he’s “banned for life”; Amy shoots back with a pretty funny line, “You’re dead! The ban’s void!” They go in and, predictably, everyone goes quiet and stares. This is the setting where Amy’s overblown personality works because she tells them to take a picture; it’ll last longer. The bartender tells them they have to order something if they want to stay. Now’s when you get one of those laughs that result from wanting to punch someone in the face but can’t: Bill stands up and says, “What? We’re serving rotters, now?” Keep in mind that Rick, Bill’s son, has been drinking there all night. Bill is in complete and utter denial about this–either that, or he’s really a huge, entitled prick.
Philip approaches the two of them to tell them they have to go to the PDS Sufferers section, which is basically just the hallway that leads to the bathroom. With this, we get a nice moment where Kieren tries to make small talk with Philip, and Philip struggles mightily to not participate when you can tell he wants to. Your subconscious doesn’t want to discriminate; when someone’s nice to you, your subconscious wants to just be nice in return. You really have to work hard to be an asshole, and this scene captures that really well.
After they’ve been escorted to the segregates section/bathroom hallway, Rick exits the bathroom, and that’s when he and Kieren share a moment of reunion. Then Rick sees Amy and is visibly uncomfortable with her. Rick argues with Philip about shoving Kieren in this little room (which, if you’ll recall, is basically what Kieren’s dad did, earlier). Philip relents and lets Kieren come back into the main room. As they’re leaving the hallway, Kieren mentions Amy and asks if she can come (referred to as “my friend”), and Rick has this great “Oh, her?” look on his face as he says, “If she must…”
Out in the woods, the Dean is “patrolling” ,which basically entails him walking around playing a rotter Nintendo DS video game, when he actually sees a zombie. This scares him shitless; he runs away, falls down, and is then approached by another rotter. He screams like a baby and runs away again.
At the pub (aside: I really like being able to describe something as being “at the pub”), after a contentious conversation with Gary (the beardy HVF guy), Amy sees that Rick is drinking and mentions that drinking makes PDS sufferers sick. Rick is all “I’m not like you.” and Amy calls him on that load of bullshit. Before things can really get heated, Dean runs in screaming about having seen a rotter. Bill takes off with the rest of the troupe and tells Rick to come with him–you know, to hunt a rotter–and Rick asks if Kieren can “tag along”–you know, to hunt A ROTTER… they’re both “rotters”, and now they’re going to “tag along” as these neanderthals attempt to find another one and kill him/her.
When they get to the woods, though, Rick and Kieren manage to stay behind; Rick wants to talk to Kieren about what happened. Kieren tells him that, after Rick died, everything went to shit. The two of them were romantically entangled before Rick went to war. They both blame each other for everything, like couples do, and then Bill tells them to get a move on.
They head out into the woods, and Kieren–of course–is the one to spot the rotters. He and Rick see that it appears to be a father and daughter enjoying a tea party… well, a dead sheep party, but still, she looks to be wearing a sparkly hairband and eats that dead carcass with pinky out, so it’s a tea party, dammit.
Rick, predictably, walkie-talkies to Bill that they found them. Kieren is like, “What the fuck, dude?” The search party converges on the man and girl, the Dean cattle prods the daughter–asshole–and then he’s bitten by the dad–he deserves it. Then he thinks he’s infected and is going to turn; Kieren informs him that this is not the case, regardless of what movies say.
Bill gives Rick the choice of whether to turn the rotters over to the authorities or to kill them; Rick decides to kill them, but Kieren talks him out of it by removing one of his contacts and telling him they can be medicated just like he and Rick have been. Then he convinces Dean and Gary to go along with this plan by appealing to their greed; they get reward money for each rabid rotter they turn in. Bill is pissed, Rick is confused, and Kieren is creeping me the fuck out with just one contact in.
Next, on In the Flesh: “Episode 3“, tomorrow night’s finale.